Editorial

Visions of Digital Equity Principles

Digital equity—or, digital opportunity, if you prefer—is having a moment. The US is making an unprecedented investment to ensure that individuals and communities have the capacity to fully participate in our society and economy. This is a huge undertaking with momentous implications on the future of the Nation. Each state has been asked to envision how life there can be transformed by achieving digital equity.

13 Years at NTCA–The Rural Broadband Association

I celebrated my thirteenth anniversary back at NTCA–The Rural Broadband Association in this role leading the best association team and the most exciting industry. I spent 20 years at NTCA after working on Capitol Hill and loved everything about the membership that the organization represented. At the time I started (in the dark ages, per my daughters), our mission was about bringing telephone service to rural Americans.

Expanding Broadband in Portland (OR), The Time Is Now

Our local and regional governments have a responsibility to provide equitable, accessible, and affordable fast-internet service to every home and business—just like electricity, water, and waste removal. Portland (OR) has existing infrastructure that can be used to provide affordable access to fast internet for all Portlanders: a publicly owned dark fiber network used for essential city services—IRNE (Integrated Regional Network Enterprise) Net.

Biden's $42 Billion Broadband Boondoggle

President Joe Biden has rolled out his Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment (BEAD) plan, which will be subsidized by $42 billion from the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. That is an obscene amount of money to invest in technology that will be obsolete by the time it's built.

Why Congress Must Save the Affordable Connectivity Program

The future of the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) is now at risk. Civil rights organizations have partnered with Congress, the Biden administration, internet service providers, and other stakeholders to spread the word about the ACP so that those who need it most are informed and can get connected. But the future of the ACP is not guaranteed. Congress needs to step up again and ensure adequate funding to continue the program.

Juneteenth and the Digital Divide

For me, Juneteenth has always lived at the intersection of joy and sorrow. It highlights a systemized violation of human rights in our country. Throughout history, access to information has always been used as a tool of oppression, with the knowledge that it can also liberate. A modern form of institutional oppression is digital inequity.

Funding the Future of Universal Connectivity

More than 30 years since the first honk and screech of commercial dial-up, there is a conspicuously empty seat at the collective table of global high-speed connectivity. Six companies account for half of all internet traffic worldwide. These six companies have a combined market cap of $9 trillion. It’s a far cry from their garage start-up days, and without question, they are tremendous American success stories. However, does it still make sense that the government and broadband providers alone fund broadband infrastructure?

AI Threatens to Widen Latin America’s Digital Divide

Lawmakers in Costa Rica writing a bill with ChatGPT. A judge in Colombia using the same tool to ask for advice in a case before him. A news anchor developed by artificial intelligence giving live reports in Mexico. As in the rest of the world, both the wonders and absurdities of AI are increasingly visible in Latin America.

42.5 Billion Reasons to Pass Permitting Reform Now

In the wake of the bipartisan resolution on the debt ceiling, Congress now has the opportunity to take another timely and unifying step forward for our nation—one that will help ensure a connected economy in which everyone can fully participate in its many opportunities. Nearly $42.5 billion in federal broadband infrastructure investment is poised to begin flowing to the states. With broadband providers and communities ready, willing, and eager to proceed, the single most intractable barricade remains—the ability of the gears of government to grind all progress to a halt.